When it comes to eating right, we all know the general rules: choose more fruits and vegetables, opt for complex carbohydrates instead of the simple ones, switch to whole grains, eat quality proteins, and low-fat dairy products. Stay away from added sugars, trans fats, excessive salt intake.
But when it comes to men and women, the rules for eating healthy change. Each one has different nutritional needs that they have to take into consideration when carefully craft their meals and diet plans.
Today, we’re gonna explore the similarities and differences between their nutritional needs, according to well-developed studies.
Why men and women have different nutritional needs?
Even though women and men share 98.5% identical DNA, there are certain nutritional norms that they need to follow in order to provide their bodies with the necessary amount of nutrients and power.
Even if we like to think men and women are the same or equals, in some stages of life, we are very different. For instance, women lose more iron during their menstruation flow, they go through menopause, which comes with great changes in the body, and during the pregnancy and lactation period, the amount of energy that women need increases drastically in order to support both them and their babies.
Other differences between men and women’s nutrition are related to age. Growing older, women are more at risk for osteoporosis, following menopause, so they’ll need a higher intake of calcium and vitamin D.
These being said, let’s take a closer look at how different is, in fact, the nutrition of men compared to women’s.
It is believed that men burn 400 more calories per day than their female counterparts. So, it is only natural that they need more calories. For an average active male, the calorie intake should be around 2800 per day, while for an average active female, this should be restricted to 2000 calories per day.
Fiber helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis, they may lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Women should consume 25 g of fiber per day, the equivalent of 2 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of fruits, while men need more – 38 g of fiber per day – the equivalent of 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits.
The protein intake is necessary for energy, but in the right amounts, of course. Excessive intake of protein can lead to calcium loss in urine. The average requirement for protein intakes are calculated based on body weight.
Both men and women need 0,8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. The differences in protein amounts will come for each person, depending on their weight.
The general rule for a healthy diet says that 15% of a person’s daily calories should come from proteins.
General rules for healthy eating suggests that out of your daily calorie intake, 45%-65% of it should come from carbs.
So, if women eat 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 of those calories should come from carbohydrates. That means women should eat between 225 and 325 g of carbohydrates a day.
For men that eat 2,800 calories per day, between 1,200 and 1,800 of that calorie intake should come from carbohydrates.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that can help lower triglycerides and increase the HDL cholesterol levels, also known as the good cholesterol. A proper intake of omega-3 fatty acids prevents blood clotting. These acids can be found mostly in fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and herring, but also in nuts, seeds, or vegetable oils.
The general recommendation for both men and women is to eat fish at least twice per week, to ensure an adequate amount of Omega-3.
Both genres should keep their total fat consumption below 30%–35% of daily calories.
With each menstrual period, women lose more iron, so they should increase their iron consumption at 18 mg per day. Men only need 8 mg of iron each day.
Young women need 1,000 mg of calcium per day, in order to lower the risk of bone fractures. On the other hand, men have to limit the intake of calcium, so they only need 800 mg.
We hope this guide comes in handy and that it will make you realize how important it is to pay attention to our bodies’ varied nutritional needs.